Living a happy life is very important to UNI sophomore Akanksha Sahni. “If you are happy from the inside, you can function the best… This is how you can have a positive outlook on life and will be able to deal with things. It is very important to work on the self.” This outlook on life is perfect for Akanksha who is a BioMedical and Psychology major with a minor in Mental Health. Her goal is to understand the body, the mind, and how they work together.
Originally from India, Akanksha came to UNI because of the technology and research opportunities available to undergraduates. Many universities do not offer these experiences to undergrads and she would not be able to find opportunities like this at home.
As a freshman, Akanksha was a research assistant to Dr. Abebe in the Biology Department. She studied drought resistant genes in barley plants. As a teaching assistant (TA) for Anatomy and Physiology she helped students with questions and graded papers. She also tutored for student athletes taking Biology courses.
Akanksha loves her biology courses. Anatomy and Physiology is one of her favorite courses which is also why she was so excited to become a TA for the course. UNI’s Syndaver Lab, a laboratory of synthetic human cadavers, is where Akanksha takes labs and expands her knowledge of the human body. She finds getting to know the human body is really interesting. Evolution, ecology, cell function, and genetics are also favorite course topics.
When Ankanksha was in high school, she went through exam anxiety. Her counselor was able to help her through this. Because of this experience, she wants to conduct research so that she can help people get out of depression or a place where they do not feel good about themselves. Her career goal is to help individuals increase their efficiency and well-performance. With her undergraduate degrees, Akanksha could pursue a career in psychology or psychiatry. After graduation, she plans to take her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and study psychiatry. She also wants to develop her skills through real-world experiences prior to obtaining her PhD.
Akanksha is a Residence Assistant (RA) in Noehren Hall this year. She is the RA for one of the Living Learning Communities and her house consists of about 50 students made up of primarily Biology majors, but others as well. Here she is available to help the students not only with their homework, but with college life.
She is currently taking 16 credit hours and is a co-executive for the Service and Leadership Council. This group helps organize leadership and volunteer opportunities for students on campus. When there is free time, Akanksha works on her self by watching TED talks or other motivational videos or meditating, but someday we may see her skydiving as that is one thing on her bucket list.
Akanksha’s advice to future students is to “Make sure you know what you want to do. Listen to your heart. How do you want to help people?” After you determine this, you can make a decision and once you do, “Never stop. Keep going on.”